Insidious is a 2011 thriller/horror film from the creators of Saw.Josh and Renai have three children, the oldest being ten-year-old Dalton. As they begin to settle into a new home, they experience strange noises and other unexplained phenomena. Soon Dalton is rushed to the hospital in a coma, suffering a severe head injury after falling in the attic. Months slip by, and the doctors still have no explanation for his continuing coma. When the boy is returned home under his mother's care, more frightening events occur in the home. The mother is so horrified that she moves the family to a another new home in hopes of leaving the fearful memories behind them.The family quickly discovers that the haunting has nothing to do with their home. The supernatural outpouring is coming from their comatose son. Several scientific experts observe the son, the family and their home. They determine that Dalton is trapped on the other side in a dark world they call The Further. The parents team with the scientists to try to bring their boy back from The Further and save him from the clutches of a dark entity that hopes to claim him as his own.A sequel, Insidious: Chapter 2, was released on September (Friday the) 13th, 2013. It follows on from the events of the first film.
This film provides examples of the following tropes:
Abusive Parents: Parker Crane's mother dresses him up as a girl. No wonder he turns out to be so messed up.
Adult Fear: Most of the first half of the movie runs on this - your child being injured and screaming while you have no idea where he is, in an unfamiliar home; same child falling into a coma after you sort of dismiss his head wound; the door being broken open, chain snapped and alarm blaring seconds after you check that no one is outside; strange people appearing in your children's rooms...
In Chapter 2, once again the baby monitor picks up speech from the baby's room. This time however, the door slams shut with the ghost inside, and when it finally opens the child is nowhere to be found.
Alien Geometries: Accessible only through astral projection, way too big to be mapped and it takes minutes to travel miles.
And I Must Scream: A few of them exist from the residents of the Further, given its nature. In Chapter 2, Josh cries out with a piano-bang Jump Scare when Parker Crane prevents him from attempting to contact his family from within the Further-version of his home.
Call Back: Chapter 2 shows us who was randomly knocking on the door and how it was left wide open before the family moved as Josh's spirit.
Young Josh's astral projection sequence from the beginning of the film gets explained twice. Elise lampshades it.
Casting Gag: In 2013's The Conjuring, Patrick Wilson plays Ed Warren a paranormal investigator who intervenes to save a woman possessed by a demon from killing her own children. In Chapter 2 (made by the same director and released less than three months later), he plays a man possessed by a demon and compelled to kill his own children, before paranormal investigators intervene.
Chekhov's Gunman: The Bride in Black, Parker Crane, who has a small role in the first film and is the central antagonist in the second film.
Creepy Child: The demon first appears to Renai in the form of a little boy. The cover art◊ also seemed to imply that Dalton was this. Unless you look at his pupil which says Help. , though that's not really the case in-film.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Insidious 2; Josh is finally freed from his possession and Carl hypnotizes him and Josh into forgetting their astral projection abilities, severing the family's ties to The Further for good.
Fake American: Australians Angas Sampson, Leigh Whannell, and Rose Byrne (as Tucker, Specs, and Renai respectively).
Freeze-Frame Bonus: The little ghost boy can be briefly seen before his more obvious appearances. He's simply standing facing a wall.
In the sequel, the Mother can likewise be seen sitting down quietly before Renai encounters her.
Genre Savvy: To paraphrase Something Awful, "this is one of the few haunted house movies where the protagonists try moving." Of course, since it's not actually the house that's haunted, this doesn't help them.
Renai suggests moving again in the second film, only for Possessed!Josh to shoot down the idea, since it didn't work the first time. In this case, Subverted in that she was Genre Savvy in regards to haunted house movies, but not this series.
On the DVD special features, in a short documentary called "Horror 101", the creators say they were specifically trying to avoid the conventional "jump scare" which comes out of nowhere, carries no suspense whatsoever, and has no real meaning or effect on the plot; all the jump scares in Insidious are quite carefully built up to, and all of them serve to further the story.
Nothing Is Scarier: Some fans agreed the Dancing Boy scene is actually the scariest part. Why? 1) It happened during the sunny day instead of darky night; 2) It's just unnerving if you imagine a little kid appears in your house out of nowhere and wandering your house mischievously; 3) He even hides in the comatose Dalton's room's closet! Imagine if your child is in the same room with an entity from another world. Doubles with Adult Fear, certainly; 4) For some people, a ghost in little kid's form can be scarier than ghost in adult form. Although, yes I know, the Dancing Boy isn't actually malicious entity in the film; 5) Well, just see the Freeze-Frame Bonus in main entry. Unless your eyes are sharp enough, you probably won't even realize he was there in the first place; 6) This is also the first scene which made the song "Tiptoe through the Tulips" become scary in the film. Later when this song is played again, you know something bad is going to happen.
Shout-Out: In a scene where we see Josh behind his teacher's desk in the classroom, the face drawn in chalk on the blackboard is the puppet from Saw.
In the scene where Elise tries to make contact with a dreaming Dalton, the gas mask she puts on looks exactly like the one used by Dream of the Endless.
Slasher Smile: A few of the spirits have them, most notably the Doll Girls.
Soundtrack Dissonance: "Tiptoe to the window, by the window, that is where I'll be, come tiptoe through the tulips with me..."
"Row, row, row your boat . . ."
Spooky Photographs: In the first chapter, these signify the ever approaching presence of the Old Woman in Black throughout the photos of Josh, and sets up the unfortunate reveal at its' end. In the second, while his body is occupied by the spirit, Josh consults his younger self—taking place in 1986—while in The Further, setting himself as the spirit when caught in a recorded still of that moment!
Spooky Seance: Elise convinces the family to try this so she can bring back Dalton's spirit.
Supernatural Proof Father: At first. Later it is revealed that the reason he was ignoring the evidence was that he too was haunted.
Took a Level in Badass: Dalton, in the sequel. He saves his mother from being killed by a possessed Josh with a ball bat before diving into the Further to lead his father back to his body.
Too Dumb to Live: Josh... twice in a row. Before entering the Further he was very clearly told that he must act stealthy. Of course, once inside he questioned every being he met. So much for being stealthy. Then once back in his house, before going back to his body, he met the Old Lady that tried to possess him when he was 8. With not much time left, he chose to yell at her (while she wasn't in any position to do something harmful against him or someone he cares about) instead of continuing on his way. In the end, the few seconds he lost prevented him from coming back in our world, and lead to Elise's demise.